Character Role Analysis
Brontë twisted the nineteenth-century male hero/love interest convention with Heathcliff, who is both a lover and a hater. He is without a doubt the protagonist, but he works very hard at being an anti-hero.
He enters the story as a mystery and we never really learn much about his character, and nothing about his past (or where he has been when he's "off-screen," so to speak). We do know that he is super intense, moody, dramatic, vengeful, violent, and loyal.
But who is he? Throughout the course of the novel he is labeled a gypsy, imp, ghoul, and even a vampire. But try as we might, we can't entirely dislike Heathcliff. After all, he grew up being treated like dirt. His undying (at times pathological) love for Catherine reveals his humanity and helps earn our sympathy. When he dies, we hope he will reunite with Catherine and get some well-earned rest.